Blogger: Matt Parrot, RSPB Membership Development Officer

I am really enjoying our new campaign, Giving Nature a Home.  It provides me with a brilliant way to talk to people about how they can help nature without going any further than their own back gardens.

My job is to influence people to support the RSPB and rather than speaking about our reserves or species conservation, I now spend a lot of time talking about how people can do little things every day to help save nature.

And I like to practice what I preach, so I’ve also had a go myself!

I’m not a warden or campaign officer, I don’t have qualifications in ecology and I have a very basic level of gardening knowledge. But I do have a small garden at my home in Norwich, and I’ve made it into a model of Giving Nature a Home.

I have the regular birdfeeders and bird boxes, but from reading the RSPB’s youth magazine, WildTimes, and Birdlife magazine it inspired me to have a go at making a little pond for frogs from a washing up bowl placed in one of the flower beds.

I didn’t expect much from it, but I was surprised one night to find a frog on the back step, so I took it to the pond, dropped it in and another frog leapt out!

What I really wanted was a hedgehog to visit, so I read the hedgehog section in the RSPB Garden Wildlife book we give to new members. I found a bush I thought would give them shelter and used a storage box for a house, putting a little bit of straw inside.

It’s taken a month but the other night I went out to find a big hedgehog eating a worm on the back grass, and when I lifted the box I found it had made a little nest of leaves inside. I hadn’t seen a live hedgehog for a long time, it’s amazing to find one living in the garden, and it’s really important to help them out with a home now that there are so few left.

I recently told this story to a family at our membership stand at Centre Parcs. They first came over to me because they saw the Hedgehog roller banner. They’d seen the advert and the twin boy and girl really wanted to see a hedgehog in their garden. I told them what I had done to attract one, showed them the books and magazines and they became members. They took a bug home away as a gift, and I recently had an email from them to say they’d been enthused to get busy building an enormous woodpile for wildlife.

It’s always great to recruit new members, but it’s even better to know that you’ve inspired someone to make the most of their membership and take part our ‘Giving Nature a Home’ campaign. 


If you’d like to have at go at Giving Nature a Home in your back garden or community, find out what you can do here.